Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Real misinformation

I moved and got DIRECTV. I finally saw Avatar. Incredible movie! Also I've watched the last two episodes of Real Time with Bill Maher. In the first episode, Maher pointed out that the three biggest chunks of the US federal government's expenses are social security, Medicare & Medicaid, and defense. Elliot Spitzer responded and said basically the US is big insurance with a big army (I believe he quoted Ezra Klein). I've never thought of it that way, but it is true.

Some dubious and downright false claims were made in the last episode, which I watched last night. Bill Maher implied that Bill Clinton's tax hikes lead to job growth. Bill Clinton was a great president whose admininstration balanced the budget, but his tax hikes did not lead to job growth. The Internet and tech boom did.

Also Maher compared dissimulation in Islam to Jon Kyl's lies about planned parenthood. It was just a segway into the planned parenthood discussion, but he made it sound like Islam allows lying. Irshad Manji mentioned that it's allowed in times of war, but she did not explain that it's called taqiyya and that it's allowed by Shia to lie about their sect when Wahhabis hunt them down. I would lie about my religion too if a Wahhabi wants to kill me because I'm Shiite.

Manji also failed when she implied that most Muslim men force their wives to wear hijab inside the home. That's just silly! And the pic of Saudi men taking pics of a goat to prove I don't know what is also silly.

Also annoying in the last episode was Michael Steele, who disagreed with Maher that the Tea Party are Republicans. He said the Tea Party includes "Blue Dog Democrats". OK there may be a few independent teabaggers, and Blue Dog Democrats are conservative, but it's clear that the vast majority of the Tea Party patriots are Republicans. The audience laughed hard when he said the Tea Party includes Blue Dog Democrats.

At least Michael Steele was challenged appropriately, especially by Ed Schultz. Most misinformation on TV seems to go unchallenged.

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